Last year, we were working with Chef Suzanne Goin on a story for Williams-Sonoma when she introduced us to an organization that’s become incredibly special to us: Alex’s Lemonade Stand. The foundation has been raising funds and awareness for childhood cancer research ever since its founding in 2000 by a young girl named Alex, who was fighting cancer herself. She decided to hold a lemonade stand to help doctors find a cure for the disease. True to her word, she did just that, raising $2,000 that year. In 2004 Alex passed away at the age of eight, having reached her goal of raising more than $1 million through her annual lemonade stands.
Goin invited our Brand Marketing Director Jean Armstrong to an event she was hosting in support of the organization, L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade. “I thought the story of this four-year-old girl was so powerful,” said Armstrong. “Alex’s parents attend all of the events, and there are lots of children running around — it’s really a celebration of life. Out of the tragedy, this foundation has made something so powerful happen.”
Williams-Sonoma was eager to get involved. We build a lemonade stand in our corporate cafe and raised $2,000 for Alex’s Lemonade Stand. We also went on to sponsor three of the charity’s events in New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, which feature top chefs and mixologists from across the country holding food and cocktail tastings, along with live music, celebrity guests and silent auctions.
“The program is connected closely to the chef community, and their level of commitment is wonderful,” Armstrong added. “We want to support the chefs and their passion, too.”
Our food team even developed a product to support the foundation: a lemonade concentrate, of which 20% of proceeds go to Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
“We wanted to make a basic but outstanding version of lemonade, which was easy to make but still all-natural,” said our Food Development lead Travis Rea. “It reminds us of childhood and lemonade stands. We’re hoping to bring awareness to the organization and inspire people to contribute to research — regardless of whether you buy the product.”
We hope you’ll also be inspired by Alex’s story to gather family, friends and community, hold your own lemonade stand, and make a difference in the lives of children with cancer.